Subaru has announced the pricing for their highly anticipated three-row SUV, the 2019 Ascent. The Ascent provides an enjoyable driving experience, according to Subaru, and gives SUV buyers a spacious interior, flexible seating options, and a bunch of new safety and in-vehicle technologies. For those wishing for me to cut to the chase, here it is: The 2019 Ascent starts around $33,000 and will go all the way up to $46,000 if you throw the option book at it.
In other words, right in the middle of what SUV buyers are expecting to pay.
Subaru calls the Ascent “the family-focused SUV” and I can see where they’re going with this. You can only cram one mom, one dad, one baby, and the staggering amount of baby support gear (BSG) into an Outback or Forester. And heaven help you when the second kid comes along. Ergo, you’re going to need a bigger and more SUV-like vehicle, and Subaru is here to help.
You can fit nine people into the Ascent and the last two rows are 60/40 split flat-folding. If you go with the Premium or Limited, you can ditch the second row bench for captain’s chairs at no additional charge. Not only is this swankier, but it also makes for easier access to the third row. There are standard roof rails that fit a number of accessories for carrying your cargo and outdoor gear like bicycles and kayaks and surfboards.
The Ascent is the largest Subaru ever built, riding on a 113.8-inch wheelbase with 8.7 inches of ground clearance. There is up to 153.5 cubic feet of passenger volume and up to a whopping 86.5 cubic feet of cargo space. If that’s not enough for you, I dunno what to say. Other family-oriented features include rear doors that open 75 degrees, making access to the third-row seats easier and/or cramming kids in much more efficient. You want more? How about 19 standard cup holders. Nineteen! America! Right there! Rock, flag, and eagle baby nineteen!
Power & Performance
As with all Subarus since time immemorial, the 2019 Ascent rides on the company’s standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. Also in the drivetrain and chassis department are the Active Torque Vectoring system and four-wheel independent suspension, both to increase traction. Power is produced by Subaru’s evergreen 2.4-liter Boxer engine that uses a combination of direct fuel injection, a 10.6:1 high compression ratio, and a Dual Active Valve Control System. There is a twin-scroll turbocharger and an intercooler to achieve higher performance and efficiency. This all adds up to 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft. o’torque. Say, could I drop that engine into a BR-Z?
Anyway, all Ascents come with a Lineartronic CVT with an 8-speed manual mode function with flappy paddles on the steering wheel. There’s also this thing called X-Mode with Hill Descent Control, just in case. The towing capacity is up to 5,000 lbs., the most of any Subaru. And speaking of towing, there is also Trailer Stability Assist to help maintain vehicle stability while towing.
Connectivity & Infotainment
The available Wi-Fi provides internet access via a 4G LTE communications network that “broadens the range of entertainment options available to occupants using smart devices.” In other words, you can keep the little nippers entertained and quiet. Other tech gizmos include remote engine start from a cell phone (handy in winter), a concierge service, anti-theft vehicle immobilizer, and a child safety function called “geofencing.” Not sure what that is, but it sounds Orwellian and handy for a parent. You can even get firmware updates over the air.
Safety & Security
There’s the standard EyeSight Driver Assist Technology package that includes Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, and Pre-Collision Throttle Management. There’s Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert too. And inside, the Ascent is covered with airbags, including side curtain airbags that offer front and rear outboard seat coverage.
Trim Levels & Availability
The 2019 Subaru Ascent, manufactured in Lafayette, Indiana, is offered in four trim levels: Base, Premium, Limited, and Touring. The further up the food chain you go, the more luxury and comfort and convenience stuff you get. Here’s a handy little chart that shows you everything for the 2019 Ascent, which will arrive at Subaru dealers this summer.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.